How the Elves and Faeries Stopped the Goblins and Trolls
Once upon a time, before the times of fertile lands, and long before your great grandparents were babies, the stars fell day and night without ceasing. As the stars fell, they shone brightly in the sky—red during harvest time, white when the snows fell, and green during the growing time, just like the star showers today. Most of those falling stars never struck the ground, leaving only emblazoned trails across the day or night sky. Sometimes, though, as the stars burned in the sky, they left behind their metallic hearts. And sometimes their metallic hearts set fire to the trees—the heart of a star is very hot.
In those days, terrible creatures lived in the caves in the ground and they hunted in the forests whenever those forests were free from fire from the falling stars. The stars fell without ceasing, but they did not always strike the same places each day. Sometimes, a river would remain calm for weeks before a star heart crashed into it, flinging water high into the sky and boiling the river creatures alive. And in those days, even when a forest was set afire, it rarely burned entirely. The great birds nested in high mountain caves in those days as the treetop nests were too easily destroyed. From those mountain nests, the great birds could look down upon the forests and see them pocked with ugly, burned scars. Those ugly, burned scars matched the ugliness of the goblins and trolls that lived in the tunnels and mazes beneath the trees and in the foothills.
The goblins and trolls did not just appear ugly and scarred, they had ugly and scarred souls as well. And to make things worse for the creatures that struggled to survive in that hazardous time, the trolls could walk through fire as easily as you can walk through fog. The dragons of those days were the undisputed kings and queens of the world—no one could challenge their power (until the dwarves emptied the mountain halls and ended their reign). This immunity to fire made the trolls menacing and evil. Trolls were twice the height of a human, and they delighted in holding smaller creatures with their wicked talons and then walking through the burning forests to watch their victims burn alive in their grasp. For generations, those victims included goblins, small, malicious creatures, shaped like tiny humans but with impish hearts of cruelty and madness. But for all their wickedness, the goblins eventually learned to be of value to the trolls and the trolls began to use the goblins to get better food rather than eat the goblins. The goblins, because of their small size, could get into more underground holes and more quickly than the trolls, move rapidly through the underground burrows and warrens, and chase terrified creatures out into the surface where the trolls could snatch them.
In those same dark times, wicked faeries, with the same kinds of devilish hearts that lived in the goblins, dwelled in the mysterious spirits of the land. When a still pond reflects starlight on a cloudless night, the mystical space just beneath the water’s surface, somehow, despite it being impossible, copies the sky’s stars into itself. If you touch that water, the stars disappear. That space, once upon a time, was one of many portals to a realm of dark spirits. Some of those dark spirits were the dark fey: gremlins, sprites, redcaps and worse. Through those many portals, especially on moonless nights, dark fey would pour forth into the hills and forests and spread chaos. The dark fey could fly, move invisibly, and pass through trees and stones. No creature could defends against their magic. Even the dragons would sometimes fall victims to the cruel jokes that the evil faeries played on their minds.
But also in those times, in the far-away southern forests where the good faeries lived, the twin races of elvenkind sometimes visited from their own ancient lands. No one knows where the elves came from, but they did come. The Ravenians could see better and farther than eagles and they crafted elven bows of great power and beauty. And with their supernatural eyesight, they could strike creatures with their arrows from so far away that enemies would fall without ever seeing the elf that fired the shot. The Thunder Elves held powerful magic within their own bodies and souls and when they unleashed their elemental magic onto the world it was accompanied with such peals of thunder as to shake the ground for miles. Birds and insects would go silent for minutes after each magical strike, such was their fear of that thunder.
Long after the dragons and dwarves had exterminated one another, but before the fertile times truly began because the stars still rained upon the earth, lighting fire to the forests and causing rockslides in the hills, as other creatures struggled with one another to claim the supremacy left by the dragons (and we know that the giants claimed that space, though that is for another story), the trolls and goblins and dark fey terrorized the nights. But their terror ended with the sweeping march. The good faeries of the southern forests had summoned the elves from afar with their own great magic. Beautiful rainbow doorways opened between worlds as legions of elves, adorned in gold and feathers, poured into this world. The leaders of the good faeries explained the troubles caused by the trolls, goblins and dark fey and begged for their assistance.
The elves marched northward through the forests of the land, and the Ravenians rained arrows into the chests and heads of the trolls and goblins. For days and nights the arrows filled the sky like an elven starshower. And the hearts of those arrow stars burned even the trolls. The peals of thunder which attended the magic of the thunder elves shook the ground mightily and the goblins hiding from the arrows were shaken with fear and horror. And the magic itself reached into those mysterious portals and struck at the dark fey in their own evil, shadowy homes. The goblins and trolls that managed to escape the brutal, months-long onslaught fled into the barrens atop the mountains or westward into the rough prairies and barren lands. The prairies were home to wild plants, tall grasses, and the grassland animals. The barrens were spotted with vultures and scorpions and wandering, aberrant scavengers. The goblins and trolls that fled into those prairies fared better than those that ascended into the starshower barrens. But both those who fled east and those who fled west were finished off by the Methiz Halflings who had made both those dangerous lands their home; but that is another story.
And we know this because the goblins, trolls and dark fey are no more and because the times of fertile lands, our own times, could not have begun had those beasts remained.